Comeback Falls Short in 3-1 Loss at UC Irvine
LBSU came up short in a Black and Blue Rivalry showdown with UC Irvine, losing in four sets on Thursday night.
IRVINE, Calif. - Long Beach State (5-13, 2-3 Big West) tried to battle back on Thursday night at Bren Events Center, but ultimately suffered a 25-12, 25-23, 21-25, 25-22 defeat to UC Irvine (14-2, 2-1 Big West) in a Black and Blue Rivalry showdown.
Brooke Earkman led the Beach in kills for the third straight match, putting down 14. Megan Kruidhof was close behind with 13 kills while also adding three digs and three blocks. Alexis Patterson recorded a double-double with 37 assists and 10 digs, while Hailey Harward had a team-high 15 digs and seven assists. YiZhi Xue had nine kills and a team-leading seven blocks.
Redshirt freshman Ashley Anselmo made her season debut for Long Beach State, entering at the start of the third set. After missing over a year following a knee injury, Anselmo contributed a kill, three digs and three blocks in her return to the court.
UC Irvine got off to a good start in the opening set, using an early 6-0 run to take a 7-2 lead. The advantage hovered around five until another run gave the hosts more breathing room. UCI rattled off five straight to lead 20-10 and never looked back, ending the set on a 10-2 run. Kirst led LBSU with a pair of kills and a solo roof, which was the only block of set one.
The Beach looked to be in a good spot in the second set as a 6-0 run put LBSU up 15-9 and forced a UCI timeout. Unfortunately, the Anteaters scored five straight to pull within a point, eventually tying the match at 18-18. LBSU led 20-19 on an Earkman kill, but UC Irvine was able to close the frame strong behind three straight kills from Haley DeSales to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Long Beach State responded to the challenge and hit a match-best .356 in the third game. Earkman had eight kills in set three alone as Long Beach State fought its way back into the match. LBSU actually trailed the even set at 21-20, but rattled off five straight points to win it. After consecutive kills by Patterson and Xue forced a UCI timeout, the Beach used its block to close things out. Consecutive roofs featuring Xue and Anselmo gave Long Beach State set point and Earkman finished the frame with her 13th kill of the night.
Irvine led 19-11 in set four looking to close out the win, but Long Beach refused to go quietly. The Beach went on an 11-3 run to tie the score at 22-all, making it anyone’s set late. After a UCI timeout, the Anteaters rattled off three straight to sprint to the finish line and snag a 3-1 win.
Long Beach State remains on the road for its next match, visiting UC Davis on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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